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Where To Bike Orange County

Posted April 4th, 2014

Orange County is famously conservative, glossy and affluent. Disneyland. Knott’s Berry Farm. Beaches, sun and sand. “Real Housewives” and “The OC”. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, Surf City, USA. Shopping is a serious pastime here at places like Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza. Birthplace to a president, Richard Nixon and a golfer, Tiger Woods. Once an agricultural center, Orange County has grown from a suburb of Los Angeles into its own metropolitan entity.

Orange County is the smallest county in California by land area, and yet it’s the third largest in population behind Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. And the sixth largest population in the nation! These facts are made all the more amazing by the fact that nearly all of the northeast quarter of the county is unpopulated. Put it all together and in this small space with lots of people, bikes have become an increasingly important and efficient mode of transportation. Not surprisingly, many of Orange County’s 34 cities have realized that alternatives to cars travel are more important than ever and are adopting transportation models that include bus, rail and bike aspects. In the famously master planned communities of the central and southern parts of the county, bicycle routes were designed into the very fabric of the communities and as a result the bike culture has taken root and blossomed.

With its Mediterranean climate, cycling in Orange County is a year-round activity and many residents partake. Famous routes include the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway that runs the entire length of the picturesque Orange County shoreline. The Santa Ana River Trail divides the county in half and has often been described as Orange County’s bicycle freeway. Used for training, commuting and recreation, this is one of the busiest cycling routes in Southern California. Peter’s Canyon Trail boasts “mountains to the sea” and lives up to its billing as you ride from Peter’s Canyon along Class 1 trails all the way to Newport’s Back Bay.

Unfortunately, due to its decentralized, suburban nature, the car is still king in Orange County. Each city retains autonomy regarding its transportation efforts and some have been quicker to incorporate cycling than others. The City of Irvine is on the verge of bicycling nirvana with more designated bike routes than I have ever seen in my life. Nearby Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Fullerton in the northwest also have excellent bike plans implemented. So until the time arrives when the entire county is connected by a web of bike lanes and paths, use those freeways for what they were meant for: to carry your bike to the part of the county you want to ride.

About the Author

Peter Dopulos is an avid cyclist. Growing up in Orange County, he spent many a
summer day chasing the sun and riding his bike along California’s world famous beaches. Later he became a confirmed cyclist commuter. Currently based in Southern California, Peter delights in discovering new cycling routes with his wife and two children.

Peter is a freelance writer and created a virtual how-to guide to the City of Long Beach California’s numbered bike routes, including highlighting family friendly rides. Peter co-created and is editor of Flask and Pen, a web publishing project that began in Los Angeles and spread like wildfire to San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Miami, and Detroit. Peter also cohosts the successful internet radio show, Swoop’s World Radio, which strives to spotlight Southern California artists, musicians, philanthropists and entrepreneurs.

In addition to his time spent writing, Peter Dopulos is a stone sculptor. His art is
collected by a diverse clientele, and he successfully shows throughout Southern
California. Peter sculpts pieces using the traditional hammer and hand chisel method used by ancient masters and rarely seen in the modern world. To support his community and his love of art, Peter Dopulos co-founded First Fridays Long Beach. First Fridays is an art collective which has brought new vitality and urgency to Bixby Knolls in Long Beach. As a result of his efforts, Peter won the Human Dignity Award from the Long Beach Human Dignity Commission in September of 2007.

Peter is also a classically trained chef, and has owned bi-coastal catering operations.

Peter Dopulos attended University of California at San Diego and the Culinary Institute of America located in Hyde Park, New York.